Heavy Metal (dir. Gerald Potterton, 1981) – A glowing green orb terrorises a young girl with bizarre stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror.
Looking for 90 minutes of pure fun? Keep an open mind, and turn the rock n’ roll attitude up to 11.
If you want blood, you’ve got it. Heavy Metal is here for the leather-clad crowd, with its fantasy mash of virgins, vamps, and that red red kroovy. In the perceived spirit of the male-dominated genre, this sensual and violent anthology embraces the full-blown madness of Heavy Metal magazine, where the staffer’s wild imagination turns into reel reality.
A magical orb kickstarts the strange affair. Proclaimed as the sum of all evils, it sets the tone straight from the get-go. Much of the narrative looks like someone had thrown some 70s album covers, sci-fi comics, wet dreams, and some cheese into a blender, then went along with it. Out comes a slew of adolescent fantasies and erotic adventures, brought to life with charming old-school animation.
Seven boundless stories take us through cyberpunk futures and distant planets, where risqué humour finds a comfortable home. Chaos reign, as souls are disintegrated and heads, lopped off in curt fashion. Not everything makes sense, but all comes tuned to a brilliant soundtrack that includes Devo, Blue Öyster Cult, Journey, Black Sabbath, Nazareth, and Sammy Hagar. Not all metal, but 100% killer.
It is interesting to see the influence of Heavy Metal in film. The Fifth Element for instance, is almost a mirror of cab driver Harry Canyon steering through the futuristic cityscape. David Fincher, Guillermo del Toro, Zack Snyder, and Gore Verbinski are also purported fans, having circled a reboot that was sadly canned.
All hope now falls upon Robert Rodriguez, who has bought the film rights back in 2011. And there seems no better fit than the director of Machete and Planet Terror for the passion project. But could it ever be?
From the raging libido of buxom damsels in distress to the bondage of a warrior queen, it is difficult to imagine Heavy Metal on the silver screen today. The overt misogyny will likely send the film up in flames before Napalm Death’s You Suffer comes to an end.
Yet from this female metal fan’s perspective, the animation’s very essence is in its unapologetic nature and political incorrectness. Taking away the gratuitous vices, it just wouldn’t be Heavy Metal. Besides, a little bit of cartoon fantasy never did anybody harm. And hell, if it isn’t a whole lotta fun to dive into that mondo bizzarro, with a pack of beers and a wide-open mind.